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Claes-Inge Isacson

  • Programme: Negotiating and Influencing Skills for Leaders
  • Nationality: Swedish
  • Job Post-programme: Self employed independent consultant and advisor

Understanding new business management techniques

My organisation, Mercer, is a major provider of renewables such as fibre energy and chemicals from sustainable sources; like most big companies today, we need to compete at a global level. One way of addressing this challenge is to ensure our entire executive team stays up-to-date with new business management techniques. With this in mind, we recently implemented a development programme giving leaders like myself the opportunity to attend the best study programmes available.

In a wider organisational context, Mercer was looking for a business school that would give us rigorous curricular content, a central city location and a diverse mix of classmates. On a personal level, I was keen to mix with and learn from people representing other continents, and different business environments. After extensive research into a number of top universities across North America and Europe, we decided London Business School was the best match for both the company and my own personal needs.

Deconstructing stereotypes

The Negotiating and Influencing Skills for Leaders programme fitted my individual learning needs particularly well. Dealing with a large number of people means I negotiate every day, with each interaction creating its own unique negotiating environment. One of the programme’s most practical benefits came from negotiating in interactive scenarios, either one-to-one or one-to-many, with a faculty member observing. We were also filmed; being able to go back and look at a video, then examine my own body language and reflect on other positives and negatives was extremely helpful. The classroom environment also taught me to be more observant – negotiating with participants from such a wide range of professional environments and cultures gave me real insight into different global business mind-sets. It also proved very quickly that people do not necessarily behave to their expected national stereotypes.

Reinforcing company culture and values

At a personal level, the programme was a hugely worthwhile experience, a chance to immerse myself in alternate ways of thinking, build new skills and develop strong global networks. And, as an increasing number of Mercer executives attend this programme, it is having a positive impact at a broader organisational level. Several colleagues recently managed a labour negotiation within a very militant environment; we came out of it better than we have ever done before, due in no small part to all that has been learned on Negotiating and Influencing Skills for Senior Leaders.

Group exposure to learning at this level of intensity is also enabling us to exchange thoughts and trade ideas more successfully. Within the company we are creating a common vocabulary, one which has reinforced our culture and values and has led to more deep-reaching discussions. I believe London Business School is the catalyst bringing Mercer people to a higher understanding of learning, uniting our executive team and ultimately resulting in better business outcomes.